Is your music career and your life where you want it to be right now?
We run on auto-pilot a lot more than we realize and more than most of us would care to admit. The good news is that once we become aware of this, we can take control of the habits and routines in our lives and design new ones that will get us where we want to be.
Here are five concepts that can transform your music career and your life. If these concepts resonate with you I recommend taking immediate action, however small, towards implementing change. Don’t over-think it. Just take action. Momentum is everything.
1. First Thing First.
Reflect for a moment on what your most important goal is. Maybe it’s going on a tour across the country or winning a Grammy. Whatever it is, get in touch with it for a moment. Now try to think of one thing you could do every day to put you on the fast track to achieving that dream. What do you need to do that you are neglecting?
What you do is this: Take the one thing you determined you need to do in order to achieve your dream and schedule it as the first thing that you do when you wake up. Actually schedule the time that you’re going to do it and the time when you’re going to stop – and stick to it. It can be for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or longer depending on what it is. Use your judgment. I also recommend that you take 1 or 2 days off per week.
Once you get started, I think you’ll find that it’s easy to stick to. When you get into a habit of it, you’ll start to feel really good. There’s a certain energy that you can only get when you’re making real progress towards what you really want.
2. Give Value.
Most of us start out in life with the mindset of trying to “get” things. How can I get more money? or fans, or praise, etc. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have these things. The problem lies in the angle you’re taking with that “get” mentality. People don’t want to be coerced or taken from, which is often how the other side feels when you’re coming at them with this mindset.
What successful people understand is that in order to have the things that will make you feel good, you have to give other people the things that will make them happy. As a general rule, it’s a very good idea to always be looking for ways to add value to the lives of the people you encounter. When someone needs a hand, don’t think of it as an inconvenience, think of it as an opportunity to add value. The guitar player in the opening band blew a fuse and needs to borrow your amp? Hook them up. No hesitation and with a smile on your face. Build up massive amounts of good will with no regard for what you’re going to get in return. That will take care of itself.
How about your fans? Think it might be a good idea to tune in to the things your fans value? I’d say so. If you can understand what you provide your fans that they find valuable, you can give more of it. This will do more to get people to your shows than anything you can do coming from the “get” mentality. To quote Zig Ziglar, “You can have anything you want if you help enough people get what they want.”
3. Surround Yourself.
They say that your level of success is remarkably consistent with the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think about that for a moment. Does it ring true for you?
People influence each other much more then they tend to realize. What if you were to be locked in, for the rest of your life, to the level of success of your 5 closest friends? Would that be ok with you? I’m not telling you to ditch all of your friends, I am simply suggesting that if you want better results, go out and find some new friends who are closer to where you want to be. The people you spend time with will influence you more than you know.
A few years ago when I decided to take guitar lessons I was determined to take lessons from someone who not only played guitar well, but who was actually living the life that I wanted – touring the world and playing sold out arenas. I knew that there were habits and mindsets I would learn that I could not get from a great guitar player who makes most of his income from working at a music store. My teacher wasn’t easy to find, but I found him because I knew what I wanted and I wasn’t willing to settle for what came easily. I’m very glad I did.
While you’re working on meeting new friends there are other ways to open yourself to the influence of successful people. Read books, interviews, and watch YouTube videos by the people you want to learn from. You should also follow the most inspiring and successful people that you can find of on Twitter. As always, do the best you can and be creative.
Stop for a moment and take a look around you at the things that you’ve brought into your life. All of those things are the result of your past thoughts and actions. Your thoughts, habits, and emotions are remarkably consistent over time and as a result, will continue guiding you to more of what you’re getting now and have always gotten. If you want more out of life than you’re getting now you need to change the equation.
As I see it, here is what’s important: you need to experience the feeling of already having what you want. When you do this you are actually forging neural pathways in your brain that will make you more inclined to feel that way. This will make the actions that lead to that feeling seem more natural. Your brain will figure out ways to lead you to that feeling again. It’s kind of like muscle memory. Just like you don’t have to think about every note that you play in a song that you’ve rehearsed a thousand times-your muscles just know where to go. The same goes for your brain. What emotions are you rehearsing? Be conscious of them because those emotions can either lead to results and gains or more status quo.
One last thing: don’t forget that you still need to put one foot in front of the other in the real world. Develop a connection with where you’re going, but don’t lose touch with where you are and what immediate action is needed to make things happen.
5. Expand What You’ve Got.
I learned this mindset from a man named Sean Stephenson. It’s something that I’d heard before, but it never really sank in until he said it, because I knew he meant it. Sean is about 3 feet tall and has lived his whole life in a wheelchair. He was born with a rare disease that caused nearly every bone in his body to break upon birth. Given his challenges it would be understandable if he were to live a life full of sadness, resentment, and anger. Many people would. Not Sean. He takes responsibility for his own happiness and refuses to make excuses.
What Sean said that had a big impact on me was that the key to happiness is to focus on what you have instead of comparing yourself to others and focusing on what you don’t have. When I heard him say that I knew that he understood it on a level most people never will. What if Bob Dylan compared his voice to other singers instead of focusing on his ability to write songs? What if Rick Allen, drummer for Def Leppard, focused on the fact that he’s missing an arm instead of what he could do with his other arm and two legs? What CAN you do? Develop it. Focus on what you have.
I hope you’ve found at least one thing here that hits home for you. Remember, you don’t have to settle for less that what you really want. You just need to keep challenging yourself and keep learning. Most of the battle is about awareness and clarity. Eliminate confusion and everything begins to come into focus. Be honest with yourself and wholeheartedly pursue your goals. Good luck!
Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.